March 20, 2007 15th Century Uzbek Author Mir Ali Shir (Navoi) Is Subject of March 27 Symposium

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202)707-0022
Public Contact: Chris Murphy (202) 707-5676

During the 15th century, Mir Ali Shir (1441-1501) was the major literary figure among the Central Asian Turkic peoples, the ancestors of today’s Uzbeks. His life, work and legacy will be the focus of a symposium to be held at the Library of Congress from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27, in Room LJ-119, located on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division and the Embassy of Uzbekistan, the symposium is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.

Writing under the pen name Navoi, Mir Ali Shir was the author of more than 30 books, written mostly in Chagatay, also known as Old Uzbek. He also wrote in Persian and Arabic. As a major patron of the arts, Navoi supported visual artists, calligraphers, authors and architects. When not involved in artistic and literary pursuits, he served as an important government official for his friend Sultan Husayn Bayqarah, ruler of Herat in Afghanistan.

Scholars from Uzbekistan, Europe and the United States will participate in the symposium with presentations about Navoi’s life and work and the society in which he lived. Speakers include Frederique Bressand, International Society of Timurids; Dilorom Abidjanova, University of World Economy and Diplomacy at Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Andras Bodrogligeti, University of California at Los Angeles; Ilse Cirtautas, University of Washington at Seattle; and Ibrahim Pourhadi, Library of Congress. Uzbek author Shavakat Azimov and Dwayne Rodeheaver of AmRus Ventures Inc. will present to the Library and discuss the first English translation of Navoi’s work titled “Lisan al-Tayr (“The Language of the Birds”). Priscilla Roberts, president of the Friends of Uzbekistan, will make concluding remarks.

The Near East Section of the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division holds Navoi’s works in their many editions in Uzbek, Persian and Arabic. It also holds scholarly works about Navoi and the significance of his work. Selected items will be on display during the symposium in Room LJ-113.

The African and Middle Eastern Division was established in 1978 as part of a reorganization that combined the Near East Section, the African Section and the Hebraic Section. Together they cover some 78 countries and regions from Southern Africa to the Maghreb and from the Middle East to Central Asia. For more information on the division and its holdings, visit the African and Middle Eastern Division at


PR 07-049
ISSN 0731-3527